We are reader-supported. Links on our site may earn us a commission. More about us

The 7 best headphones for mixing and mastering in 2024

Any music producer worth their salt understands the importance of a solid mix and master. It can make or break the impact of a track and if something is muddy, harsh, or unrefined it can take the listener out of the moment and ruin the experience.

In this article, I’ll be providing you with what I consider to be the best headphones for mixing and mastering music in 2024, all of which I’ve tested myself.

About the author

I’m a producer, audio engineer, and songwriter with a decade’s worth of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. I have worked with and tested a huge variety of headphones, including Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sony, and Audio-Technica, among others.

testing headphones in mixing process
Image: Higher Hz

How I chose the headphones for this list?

Upon selecting which headphones to include on this list, there were a few factors I had in mind: frequency response, comfort, general consensus amongst professional use, and cost-to-value ratio.

As I said, I’ve personally tested and used each set on this list, so while there may be some inherent bias afoot, I felt that to be preferable over blind statistics.

At the end of the day, the criteria that makes a pair of headphones the best choice for you entirely depends on your own personal set of needs and preferences. So don’t feel pressured on making a decision unless you’re truly comfortable with the outcome.

good headphones for mixing and mastering
Image: Higher Hz

To find out more about how we test and rate studio headphones here at Higher Hz and why you can trust our reviews, check out this page.

These are the best headphones you can buy for mixing and mastering:

  1. Shure SRH1840
  2. AKG K371
  3. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
  4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
  5. Sennheiser HD 600
  6. AKG K712 Pro
  7. Sony MDR-7506

Shure SRH1840 4.7

The best mixing headphones

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, open-back
  • Earcups swivel: No
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz – 30 kHz
  • Impedance: 65 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
Shure SRH1840 premium open-back studio headphones
Image: Shure

For those of you who are familiar with Shure, the corporation responsible for some of the most iconic and well-known gear in the history of audio, it should come as no surprise that the SRH1840 are, simply put, headphones par excellence.

They’re easy to drive, neutral in their response, yet never come across as boring or sterile in their reproduction. What’s more is that they’re lightweight, comfortable, and durable.

I understand that some of you may be wary of these, considering they’re nearly $500, but trust me when I say they’re hands down some of the best studio headphones for mixing and mastering.

Read the full Shure SRH1840 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Neutral response.
  • High-quality audio.
  • Lightweight and durable.

What I don’t like

  • Not the most affordable on this list.
Buy Shure SRH1840 at: SweetwaterAmazon

AKG K371 4.5

The best closed-backs for mixing

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Earcups swivel: Yes
  • Frequency response: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
AKG K371 over-ear closed-back studio headphones
Image: AKG

In regard to closed-back headphones, the AKG K371 blow nearly every competitor out of the water for their price range. Their frequency response (5 Hz – 40 kHz), while still suffering from a slight V-shape, is far more neutral than, say, Audio-Technica’s ATH-M40x.

Yes, you’ll still get a bit of exaggeration in the lowest of lows and highest of highs, but considering these were designed to be relatively low-budget, the slight inconsistencies ought to be given a pass.

The same can be said for their less-than-ideal build and comfortability, which is a small price to pay for their convenience.

Read the full AKG K371 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Relatively neutral frequency response.
  • Good cost-to-value ratio.
  • Affordable.

What I don’t like

  • Slight exaggeration in low and high frequencies.
Buy AKG K371 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 4.6

Popular for a reason

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, open-back
  • Earcups swivel: No
  • Frequency response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Impedance: 250 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro open-back studio mixing headphones
Image: Beyerdynamic

While Beyerdynamic has a reputation for sounding a bit too clinical and overbearing on the high end, it doesn’t make the DT 880 Pro any less viable as a pair of mixing cans.

Their sound signature is incredibly bright, but this can help highlight sibilance issues and other blemishes in a mix. This can work wonders for your mixes if you take the time to warm up to their character.

The main takeaway here is that these headphones are popular for a reason. They sound great, they’re well-built, and they’re supremely comfortable. If you like a bright sound signature, this one is a no-brainer. Even if you don’t, they make a great pair of reference headphones.

Read the full Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro review to find out more.

What I like

  • Good to help identify imperfections.
  • Well-built.
  • Comfortable.

What I don’t like

  • Might be overly clinical-sounding to some.
Buy Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro at: SweetwaterAmazon

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 4.5

A phenomenal budget option

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Earcups swivel: No
  • Frequency response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Impedance: 250 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro closed-back studio headphones
Image: Beyerdynamic

Another bright-sounding set of headphones from Beyerdynamic, perfect. The DT 770 Pro headphones are like the little sibling of the DT 880 Pro – not quite as good but roughly the same.

That aforementioned V-shape in the frequency response is a bit more drastic, but not so much that it will ruin your listening experience. The accuracy of the midrange is what really makes these headphones stand out among a crowd.

Just as the DT 880 Pro and DT 990 Pro, however, these headphones are built to last and are incredibly comfortable. If you wanted the DT 880 Pro but couldn’t afford, these are roughly $50 cheaper. Overall, these are some of the best closed-back headphones you can find for mixing.

Read the full Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro review to find out more.

What I like

  • Highly accurate midrange.
  • Durable and comfortable.
  • Affordable.

What I don’t like

  • Not as accurate as other high-end options.
Buy Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro at: SweetwaterAmazon

Sennheiser HD 600 4.2

A solid choice

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, open-back
  • Earcups swivel: No
  • Frequency response: 12 Hz – 39 kHz
  • Impedance: 300 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
Sennheiser HD 600 open-back audiophile headphones
Image: Sennheiser

The Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are a solid choice for any audio engineer, regardless of experience. They’re rather bright, and risk being too hyped up in the high end, but are fairly accurate overall.

The brightness can work to your advantage too, especially if you’re in need of some headphones for critical listening. Keep in mind that these are open-back headphones, so if you want a set of cans to bring with you on your commute, look elsewhere.

Read the full Sennheiser HD 600 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Fairly accurate.
  • Good for critical listening.

What I don’t like

  • Might be too bright for some.
Buy Sennheiser HD 600 at: SweetwaterAmazon

AKG K712 Pro 4.8

The underdog

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, open-back
  • Earcups swivel: No
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Impedance: 62 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
AKG K712 Pro reference studio headphones
Image: AKG

The AKG K712 Pro headphones are an underrated choice, but are nonetheless some of the best mastering headphones you can find. The price is a bit higher than most of what’s on this list, but is completely worth it.

The soundstage on these cans is absolutely massive. Elements of your mix you once perceived as being closer will sound much farther away, all while retaining their clarity and detail.

The highs are smooth and the bass is present without being overbearing. However, the sound signature might take some getting used to, so I recommend you try them out before buying to make sure they’re right for you.

Read the full AKG K712 Pro review to find out more.

What I like

  • Massive soundstage.
  • Smooth highs and balanced bass.

What I don’t like

  • Somewhat higher price than other options.
Buy AKG K712 Pro at: SweetwaterAmazon

Sony MDR-7506 4.0

The affordable industry standard

  • Type: Wired
  • Design: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Earcups swivel: Yes
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 63 ohms
  • Connectivity: 1/8″, 1/4″ adapter
Sony MDR-7506 stereo professional headphones
Image: Sony

The Sony MDR-7506 headphones are a divisive choice. Many refer to them as the gold standard of mixing headphones, others disregard them as trash and move on, but my opinion lies somewhere in between.

It’s important to recognize that these headphones were originally designed to weed out inconsistencies and issues found in voice broadcast engineering, way back when radio was at its peak. So, while they’ve certainly stood the test of time, they’re not perfect to mix with.

They are indestructible, however, and stupidly cheap. If you’re interested in having a set of industry standard cans, these are probably the easiest to get a hold of.

Read the full Sony MDR-7506 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Good audio quality.
  • Durable build.
  • Affordable.

What I don’t like

  • Divisive reputation.
Buy Sony MDR-7506 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Conclusion

There you have it, an updated list of the best headphones to use for mixing and mastering your tracks in 2024. While this may not be a complete list, I hope that I’ve provided enough information for you to make your own informed decision.

Remember that the only important thing, the only thing that really matters, is that you’re happy with your investment and that it helps you make better music. Everything else is a farce.

Share
Discussions